Advantages Charming combination of the old and the new give this resort something for everyone.
Disadvantages Heat oppressive at height of summer. Some areas rather loud and built up
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean situated to the extreme North East of this sea. Cyprus can be described as the meeting point of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa, and this is certainly reflected in the Cypriot heritage of architecture, food and people. This was my third visit to Cyprus, the previous two stays having both been in Larnaca. This time we decided we'd like to experience more of the south-west of the island, so we opted for a fortnight in Paphos.~*~ GETTING THERE AND GETTING AROUND ~*~
Paphos International Airport is quite small and it has to be said, seems to have some difficulty coping with the amount of traffic it has to deal with. The queue to get through customs and passport control was quite vast and rather slow moving. However, in general the airport was clean and efficient, and only a fifteen minute drive away from Paphos itself. Nearby construction work does indicate upgraded facilities are underway. If you don't have a hire car, a taxi should cost no more than around CYP 15.00 to CYP 18.00 to get into Paphos.Driving is a joy in Cyprus with a good selection of well tended roads. Blue and white road signage clearly indicates where you want to go, with any historical landmarks outlined with brown and white boards. The best thing of all is that the majority of cars are right hand drive and everyone drives on the left hand side of the road. I've never yet managed to master driving in a foreign country, but I was more than happy to take my turn at the wheel in Cyprus as the car and the roads were the right way around for me!
Car hire is easy in Cyprus with all the major players (Avis, Hertz, Europcar) having offices on the island, as well as lots of local firms. However, car hire is quite expensive in Cyprus - something simple with a small engine (and the recommended air-conditioning) will set you back around £300 to £400 for a fortnight. Perhaps that's why so many tourists opt for bikes or scooter hire whilst there. Quad bikes were readily available to hire throughout Paphos, but quiet they aren't!~*~ THE WEATHER ~*~
~*~ A BRIEF HISTORY OF PAPHOS ~*~
The history of Cyprus goes back at least 10,000 years and there are a huge number of ancient monuments and sites throughout the island. Alexander the Great and St Paul both played their parts in shaping the Cyprus of today. However, the best known figure from the past is Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, who made her home in Paphos itself, after allegedly emerging from the seas nearby. Alexander the Great and his successors, the Ptolemies, also made their home in Paphos, making it the capital of Cyprus due its very busy and thriving port area. It remained the capital for seven further centuries, even when the Romans took over. The Roman Governor of the island Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity by St Paul on his visit to Cyprus in 45 AD. The Paphos of today is left with an impressive legacy of its various inhabitants throughout the ages with many archaeological remains and historical sites. There are the Ptolemy influenced Tomb of Kings to the more "modern" Roman remains and mosaics, all of which can be visited. In fact, you could describe Paphos as very much an open museum. UNESCO have included the whole town on its list of cultural and natural treasures of world heritage.
I found Paphos to be much larger than I was expecting, as it really does sprawl out over a rather large area. All the guidebooks will tell you that Paphos is divided into two main areas Ktima Paphos (the town) and Kato Paphos (the harbour). However, I think that there are actually three distinct areas of Paphos, the town, the harbour and the sprawling array of shops and restaurants that line either side of the Tomb of the Kings Road.Ktima Paphos is situated slightly inland and houses a multitude of shops and offices, as well as the old Turkish/Greek quarter. If you enjoy shopping whilst on holiday, you'll be delighted to find branches of Marks and Spencer, Next and Debenhams, as well as all sorts of other Cypriot stores.
Kato Paphos is much more appealing to my mind. Worth noting is the free car parking by the harbour, especially at night. It's almost impossible to find a space to park alongside the promenade, so it's best to park by the quay and walk. The harbour itself is quite quaint and is well worth a stroll along. The harbour is lined with a variety of fish restaurants, most of which offer under cover seating as well as more alfresco dining opportunities alongside the water. It's a great place for people watching as it is thronged with crowds night and day. You can also enjoy all sorts of marine adventures from here with glass bottomed boat tours, fishing trips, jet skis and boats or mini day cruises on offer. Personally, I preferred to relax with a drink at one of the many quayside restaurants and cafés and watch the world go by. Hobo Café at the far end of the quay (nearest the fort) does a wicked range of waffles and has some lovely wicker seating, as well as huge umbrellas to protect you from the worst of the sun. At the far end of the quay you can see the medieval fort standing like a sentinel guarding Paphos against further attacks from any would be invaders. There are also the ruins of Paphos castle silhouetted against the sky nearby.The Tomb of the Kings Road is a very busy area of Paphos. Both sides of the road are thronged with restaurants, bars and night clubs as well as souvenir shops. This is the brashest area of Paphos by far, with loud neon signage and lots of holidaymakers. That said, it never feels unsafe or nasty - just slightly grubby and tacky. If you head along this stretch of the road towards Coral Bay it does become quieter and more pleasant and you'll find some nicely run tavernas and restaurants away from the main throng.
~*~ EATING AND DRINKING ~*~
Cypriot cooking is rich and varied, being a unique and somewhat exotic blend of all its neighbours. Cypriot cuisine has borrowed all sorts of bits and pieces from Greek, Italian, Turkish and Lebanese cooking and made something rather unique of their own.
In general, a meal for two with drinks will set you back around CYP 17 to CYP 23, and those prices tend to include both VAT and service. One of nicest things about Cypriot menus is that a lot of their menus seem to have Fresh or Frozen alongside each menu item, which is a great way of finding out if your prawns have been caught recently or been languishing in a Lec for several weeks. In general, beef is rather expensive and invariably frozen. However, pork, lamb and chicken are usually fresh and very tasty. In particular, I found the lamb to be my favourite. The price of lamb chops in the UK nowadays prevents me from having this dish more than once in a blue moon. However, in Cyprus, a good plate of 4 or 5 meaty lamb cutlets, salad and chips was often priced at no more than CYP 5 or CYP 6, so I found myself overdosing on them throughout the fortnight. The calamari is well worth trying as well, as it is invariably served piping hot and lightly fried in batter at a mere CYP 2 to CYP 3 - delicious.There is a vast amount of international cuisine on offer in Paphos with a variety of restaurants serving Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, as well as Greek food. If you're not a fan of foreign food, Paphos does, of course, house the usual array of pubs and cafés serving "English" home comforts of fry ups and fish and chips. Similarly, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken have also made their presence felt throughout Paphos and beyond with their usual subtle signage.
However, if you enjoy Greek food as much as I do, you will be spoiled for choice in Paphos, as there are many many tavernas and restaurants from which to chose.Kato Paphos tends to have a lot of fish restaurants along the harbour side, all of which are very busy and crowded. Most of them serve a nice fish or meat meze, as well as a huge selection of more international and national fish and meat dishes. We had a very nice fish meze for two at The Pelican overlooking the harbour. Further along the promenade there are a few more sophisticated European type dineries. If you are looking for something a little more upmarket try somewhere like The Seagull.
Most of the brasher and louder eateries are concentrated further inland along the Tomb of the Kings Road. Fat Mama's seemed to be the most popular choice - a kind of Cypriot version of TGI Fridays. The queues outside tended to put us off eating there, so we headed away from the brighter lights looking for somewhere a little quieter in ambiance. We tried a Chinese Thai restaurant one night (Peach Blossom in the Tomb of the Kings Road), and it was of an unbelievably poor quality, convincing us, yet again, to stick to the local cuisine of the country we're visiting.If you want to appreciate simply cooked Greek cuisine, do try and aim for one of the smaller and quieter tavernas. Indeed the family run ones are probably your best bet. My recommendations for tavernas of this type are Niki's Tavern, Stavros & Georgia or Melania (serves a very good meat meze and home grown grapes from their own vines), all of which are situated just outside of the main thrust of Paphos on the Tomb of the Kings road heading out towards Coral Bay.
Drinks wise, the local lager Keo or Leon is very drinkable. However, Carlsberg (plus others) are readily available at the same price if you prefer to stick to more recognisable brands. Cypriot wines are also very nice - especially the white wines. Oh and don't forget to try the ouzo - a white spirit made of aniseed.~*~ THINGS TO DO IN PAPHOS AND NEARBY ~*~
~ The Tomb of the Kings ~
Dating back to the 4th century BC, these are some fairly impressive underground tombs carved from solid rock. Evidently the richer citizens and the aristocracy of the Ptolemy dynasty were buried here, and not any Kings as the name indicates. We had a wander around quite a few of these tombs, but it was really rather too hot and the site was very dry and dusty. As there are no catering facilities on site, it's a good idea to take some water with you. The entry fee is a mere CYP 1.
It is a very pretty setting though, and worth a dip in the sea. The beach itself (like most of them in the Paphos area) is very pebbly, but nice and clean. There is a small cafeteria on the opposite side of the road, but nothing much else to see and do at this particular site. The nearby village of Pissouri has another pebbly beach, and a lovely range of beach front tavernas and cafes.~ Agios Neophytos Monastery ~
The present day monastery is built nearby and around the original caves, and it was all very quiet and calm. There is a small museum, cafeteria and gift store.~ The Baths of Aphrodite, Polis and Latsi ~
Nearby is the pretty seaside town of Latsi (also known as Latchi or Lakki). A stroll along the quayside is particularly recommended, as are the numerous fish restaurants that overlook the water. We had calamari, bread and salad at a 300 year old restaurant called Porto Latchi overlooking the sea, and it was quite delightful. A quick dip in the beautiful clear blue sea afterwards and we were refreshed enough to continue on with our exploration into the nearby town of Polis. Both Polis and Latsi are much smaller and quieter resorts than Paphos and they still retain much of their original charm.~*~ SOME GENERAL FACTS ABOUT PAPHOS / CYPRUS IN GENERAL ~*~
~ Currency in Cyprus is currently the Cypriot Pound. Exchange rates are about CYP 0.80 to £1.00 GBP. However, the Cypriot pound is being phased out and the Euro will become legal tender from January 2008. Restaurateurs had already begun to switch over with most menus being reprinted with both currencies (or handwritten Euro conversions in the margins!).~ There is no need to take your plug adaptor with you to Cyprus, as most sockets tend to run off our 3 pin plug system.
~ The main language of Cyprus is of course Greek. However, English is very widely spoken and nearly all the signage on roads, shops etc; is in both languages (jolly handy if you are as unfamiliar with the Cyrillic alphabet as I am).~ For some strange reason there are a profusion of opticians on Cyprus, and it is generally found to be much cheaper to have eye tests, new glasses or contact lenses undertaken in Cyprus rather than UK. My partner had an eye test and a new pair of glasses for around CYP 30.00.
~ Tap water is perfectly safe to drink.~ Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
~ I deliberately haven't mentioned anything about places to stay in Paphos or Cyprus, as there is simply not enough space to go into detail. Suffice it to say that there are literally massive amounts of building work underway in Cyprus. Even the smallest, remotest village is likely to have a huge development board up advertising a new complex of apartments or a new hotel being built nearby. Similarly, there are often hand-written boards advertising rooms or apartments to rent throughout the island. You'll be spoiled for choice with the range of accommodation on offer with five star beach front hotels to one bedroom self-catering apartments. Most of the major tour operators offer package tours to Cyprus, so it's just a case of finding something you like the look of within your budget. If you prefer to travel independently, then you may find accommodation via http://www.cyprushotels.net, http://www.cyprushotels.com or http://www.bookcyprus.com~*~ RECOMMENDATION ~*~
~*~ MORE INFORMATION ~*~http://www.visitcyprus.org.cy/
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment
Pages: 252, Paperback, Kyriakou Books
amazon marketplace books
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days
624 Cyprus, Buses. April 1998 . Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos, many old Bedford 'village' buses now derelict in the countryside.
amazon marketplace dvd
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days